Grassroots nationalism is commonplace in Russia – Alekseyev

Lyudmila Alekseyeva file photo

MOSCOW. Oct 31 (Interfax) – Lyudmila Alekseyeva, chairman of the Moscow Helsinki group and Russia’s oldest human rights activist, believes Liberal Democratic Party leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky has crossed the line of aggressive nationalism.

“Let’s put barbed wire around Zhirinovsky, not the Caucasus,” Alekseyeva told a press conference on Thursday.

Alekseyeva said grassroots nationalism is commonplace in Russia, but some people have now crossed the line of aggressive nationalism and fascism. “Some people are shouting ‘Stop feeding the Caucasus’ and others suggest putting barbed wire around it,” she said.

On October 24, Zhirinovsky made a statement on the program Poyedinok aired on Rossiya television against internal migration by residents of the Northern Caucasus and proposed to restrict the birth rate in the region and “put barbed wire around the territory of the Caucasus.” Some State Duma deputies asked the State Duma administration and the State Duma ethics commission to punish Zhirinovsky for those statements.

In the meantime, members of the People’s Assembly of Dagestan adopted an address to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the heads of both chambers of the Russian Federal Assembly on Thursday asking for Zhirinovsky to be relieved of his duties as a parliamentarian and for him to be prosecuted.